You log countless miles before your next Sprint triathlon to knock a few minutes off your time. Did you realize you may have let all that hard work evaporate in transition when you spent five minutes tying your shoes in a double knot and removing the sand from between your toes?
A couple of easy changes to what you do in transition can improve your overall time and, best of all, cost you nothing in blood, sweat and tears. First, get yourself some elastic laces for your shoes to avoid fumbling with laces with frozen, trembling hands. Use a product like Body Glide on your calves and ankles to slip your wetsuit off with ease. To go completely pro, attach your tri specific cycling shoes to your pedals and learn to slip your feet in the shoes out on the bike course while already on the go.
It might feel silly performing a transition in your backyard but all these things require a little practice to get right under the pressure of race day. You'll feel glad you did when you slip past your fast swimming friends thanks to some slick maneuvers in transition.
Below are my notes from my transitions clinic I run occasionally on how to set-up your transition area, an equipment guide as well as specific techniques to help you spend more of your race swimming, biking and running and less time fooling around in between.
Transition Set-Up and PreparationThe fastest place to position your bike is near the Bike Exit. If you’re free to rack your bike anywhere you may need to get there early to reserve the best spot.
Walk through the Transition Area, entrances and exits to familiarise yourself with the lay out. Pick a landmark next to transition (that won’t move during the race) to locate your bike.
Putting your bike in the right gear with enough resistance to push off but not too much that you can’t get going. (3rd or 4th usually works).
Attach your bike shoes to the bike.
Hook your bike up, by the seat preferably, so you can slip it off and push it forward.
Put baby powder in your shoes, drape race belt over runners, place sunglasses and helmet on handlebars (if secure).
Essential Equipment: Body glide, talcum powder and elastic laces.
Swim and T1
- Switch to 6 beat kick 50 yard from exit to shunt blood to your legs.
- Take wetsuit down to hips, take goggles and cap off.
- Visualize transition while running from the shore
- Stomp wetsuit while putting on sunglasses and helmet
- No towelling, wiping, showering or bathing.
- Sunglasses, gloves, socks, accessories, nutrition - do you absolutely need them?
- Leave your triathlon bike shoes on pedals and learn to put them on while riding
- Know the last 500 yards of the course so you know when to start taking shoes off and enter T2 with bare feet.
T2 and Run
- Grab cap and race belt and run with them putting them on as you go.
- Don't forget to take helmet off!